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GREEK NEWS

Greece Begins Monitoring Flow of Migrants With Blimp

The Greek Coast Guard deployed a unmanned blimp on the island of Samos on Tuesday to help combat illegal immigration and to augment search and rescue operations in the eastern Aegean Sea.

This is the first time airships have been used for aerial monitoring of migrant activity in the Mediterranean.

Authorities say that the 35-meter (115-foot) airship, which was provided by the European Union border agency Frontex, can fly as high as 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

The blimp, which will be used on a trial basis for four weeks, will be equipped with radar and a thermal camera and is able to provide real-time, 24-hour monitoring of activity on the surrounding seas.

Samos is a major arrival point for migrants who travel by sea in small boats to reach Europe. The small, rickety dinghys are often owned by smugglers.

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